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Ummahat al Mu’minin (Mothers of the Believers) Series Part 1

Brief Biographies and Status of the Ummahat al Mu’minin (Mothers of the Believers)

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Introduction

 

All praise belongs to Allah, the Almighty. Peace and Salutations be upon the Seal of the Prophets, upon his progeny, Companions, and those who follow his path until the Day of Reckoning.

The Ahlul Bayt (Family of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) have been granted a lofty rank and elevated status in the eyes of the Ahlus Sunnah wa l-Jama’ah in accordance with what Allah has decreed of loving them and honouring them. This is in keeping with the bequest of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, when he said, “I remind you (to be kind) to the members of my family.” In light of this, we dissociate ourselves from those who exaggerate with regards to only specific members of the Ahlul Bayt (ignoring the rest) and also from the Nawasib, who cause harm to them and harbour malice for the pure members of the Ahlul Bayt.

The Muslims in general, and in specific the Ahlus Sunnah, love the pure members of the Ahlul Bayt and consider it strictly forbidden to disparage, belittle, or harm them in any way, whether this be directed to the progeny of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam or his blessed wives.

We (Mabarrat al Al wa l Ashab) is pleased to present to you this discourse, from amongst its foremost publications, which will enrich the literary works already prepared on the legacy of the Pure Ahlul Bayt and noble Companions, instil love for them in the hearts of the Believers, and clarify a few of the misconceptions which may be lurking in the minds of some Muslims.

In as much as these pages highlight the distinguished status and virtue of the blessed wives of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam being the Ummahat al Mu’minin (Mothers of the Believers) as mentioned in the Noble Qur’an and Blessed Sunnah, it also makes mention of those verses and ahadith commending them and honouring them as part of the Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam; thus awarding them a unique virtue.

 

The status of the Ummahat al Mu’minin

 

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:

 

النَّبِيُّ أَوْلٰى بِالْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ مِنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ وَ اَزْوَاجُهُ اُمَّهَاتُهُمْ

The Prophet is more worthy of the believers than themselves, and his wives are [in the position of] their mothers.[1]

 

In essence the mothers of a believer are the wives of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is his father[2]. The Muhajirin and the Ansar are his brothers and those implied in the Qur’anic supplication:

 

رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا وَلِإِخْوَانِنَا الَّذِيْنَ سَبَقُوْنَا بِالْإِيْمَانِ وَلَا تَجْعَلْ فِيْ قُلُوْبِنَا غِلًّا لِّلَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ رَءُوْفٌ رَّحِيْمٌ

Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith and put not in our hearts [any] resentment toward those who have believed. Our Lord, indeed You are Kind and Merciful.[3]

 

This is the Household of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Anyone who disparages even one of the wives of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam will be said to be void of iman because if he were a believer in the true sense of the word then he would never have disparaged the Mothers of the Believers; a son does not speak ill of his mother.

This motherhood is the same as biological motherhood as far as the rights of respect and honour are concerned, and also as a means of being proud of one’s ancestry. Can anyone boast of having a nobler mother than those whom the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam chose to be his spouses? In fact, they were selected by Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala Himself, as Allah says:

 

لَّا يَحِلُّ لَكَ النِّسَاءُ مِن بَعْدُ وَلَا أَنْ تَبَدَّلَ بِهِنَّ مِنْ أَزْوَاجٍ وَلَوْ أَعْجَبَكَ حُسْنُهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا مَلَكَتْ يَمِيْنُكَ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ رَّقِيْبًا

Not lawful to you, [O Muhammad], are [any additional] women after [this], nor [is it] for you to exchange them for [other] wives, even if their beauty were to please you, except what your right hand possesses. And ever is Allah , over all things, an Observer.[4]

 

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala stated regarding Sayyidah Zainab bint Jahsh radiya Llahu ‘anha:

 

فَلَمَّا قَضٰى زَيْدٌ مِّنْهَا وَطَرًا زَوَّجْنَاكَهَا لِكَيْ لَا يَكُوْنَ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ حَرَجٌ فِيْ أَزْوَاجِ أَدْعِيَائِهِمْ إِذَا قَضَوْا مِنْهُنَّ وَطَرًا وَكَانَ أَمْرُ اللَّهِ مَفْعُوْلًا

So when Zaid had no longer any need for her, We married her to you in order that there not be upon the believers any discomfort concerning the wives of their adopted sons when they no longer have need of them. And ever is the command of Allah accomplished.[5]

 

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala said regarding there superiority over the women of the world:

 

يَا نِسَاءَ النَّبِيِّ لَسْتُنَّ كَأَحَدٍ مِّنَ النِّسَاءِ إِنِ اتَّقَيْتُنَّ

O wives of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, you are not like anyone among women, if you fear Allah.[6]

 

Such is their distinctiveness that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has forbade any of the believers from ever marrying them just as it is prohibited for a son to marry his biological mother. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:

 

وَمَا كَانَ لَكُمْ أَن تُؤْذُوْا رَسُوْلَ اللَّهِ وَلَا أَن تَنكِحُوْا أَزْوَاجَهُ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ أَبَدًا إِنَّ ذٰلِكُمْ كَانَ عِندَ اللَّهِ عَظِيمًا

And it is not [conceivable or lawful] for you to harm the Messenger of Allah or to marry his wives after him, ever. Indeed, that would be in the sight of Allah an enormity.[7]

 

The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is harmed by any word or action that would hurt his wives, to such an extent that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala even instructed the believers to only address them from behind a veil. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:

 

وَإِذَا سَأَلْتُمُوْهُنَّ مَتَاعًا فَاسْأَلُوْهُنَّ مِنْ وَرَاءِ حِجَابٍ ذٰلِكُمْ أَطْهَرُ لِقُلُوْبِكُمْ وَقُلُوْبِهِنَّ وَمَا كَانَ لَكُمْ أَنْ تُؤْذُوْا رَسُوْلَ اللَّهِ

And when you ask [his wives] for something, ask them from behind a partition. That is purer for your hearts and their hearts. And it is not [conceivable or lawful] for you to harm the Messenger of Allah.[8]

 

When this is the level of honour that has been accorded to the Ummahat al Mu’minin, what can be said about those who disparage them, curse them, and attribute to them that which does not befit their noble status? Shortly after the above mentioned verses, Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُل لِّأَزْوَاجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَاءِ الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ يُدْنِيْنَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِن جَلَابِيْبِهِنَّ ذٰلِكَ أَدْنٰى أَن يُعْرَفْنَ فَلَا يُؤْذَيْنَ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُوْرًا رَّحِيْمًا

O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.[9]

 

Then Allah issues a stern warning:

 

لَّئِن لَّمْ يَنتَهِ الْمُنَافِقُوْنَ وَالَّذِيْنَ فِيْ قُلُوْبِهِم مَّرَضٌ وَالْمُرْجِفُوْنَ فِيْ الْمَدِيْنَةِ لَنُغْرِيَنَّكَ بِهِمْ ثُمَّ لَا يُجَاوِرُوْنَكَ فِيْهَا إِلَّا قَلِيْلًا

If the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is disease and those who spread rumours in al Madinah do not cease, We will surely incite you against them; then they will not remain your neighbours therein except for a little.[10]

 

Referring to the rumours these hypocrites were spreading concerning the marriage of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha. She was previously the wife of his adopted son, Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu, whose mention was made in the verses cited previously. This verse indicates that criticism of the wives of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is amongst the traits of the hypocrites, and the Believers have been sternly warned from imitating them.

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has clarified in this surah that He will not accept any justification for slandering the wives of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The one who does so abandons the Qur’an and Sunnah and instead follows the path of the whimsical and foolish, who they take as their masters and dignitaries. If he does not repent and dies in this condition:

 

يَوْمَ تُقَلَّبُ وُجُوْهُهُمْ فِي النَّارِ يَقُوْلُوْنَ يَا لَيْتَنَا أَطَعْنَا اللَّهَ وَأَطَعْنَا الرَّسُوْلَا وَقَالُوْا رَبَّنَا إِنَّا أَطَعْنَا سَادَتَنَا وَكُبَرَاءَنَا فَأَضَلُّوْنَا السَّبِيْلَا

The Day their faces will be turned about in the Fire, they will say, “How we wish we had obeyed Allah and obeyed the Messenger.” And they will say, “Our Lord, indeed we obeyed our masters and our dignitaries, and they led us astray from the [right] way.”[11]

 

Is attributing to them that which does not befit their noble status a meritorious deed? Or is it one of the most heinous crimes? Just imagine for moment—while you curse Aisha and Hafsah radiya Llahu ‘anhuma—that you are standing in front of the Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and he is looking at you and listening to your words… how does it feel now? Imagine what the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would be thinking of you?

يَا نِسَاءَ النَّبِيِّ لَسْتُنَّ كَأَحَدٍ مِّنَ النِّسَاءِ إِنِ اتَّقَيْتُنَّ

O wives of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, you are not like anyone among women, if you fear Allah.[12]

 

In other words there are undeniably no women in this world superior to the wives of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. This is not something unfathomable when one considers that they are after all the wives of that Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who is the most superior of all the Prophets and Messengers—in fact the best of all creation—and they were preferred by Allah and the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam over all other women in this world.

As for them fearing Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and possessing the quality of Taqwa, this too is proven from the Noble Book of Allah. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:

 

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُل لِّأَزْوَاجِكَ إِن كُنتُنَّ تُرِدْنَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا وَزِيْنَتَهَا فَتَعَالَيْنَ أُمَتِّعْكُنَّ وَأُسَرِّحْكُنَّ سَرَاحًا جَمِيْلًا وَإِنْ كُنتُنَّ تُرِدْنَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُوْلَهُ وَالدَّارَ الْآخِرَةَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ أَعَدَّ لِلْمُحْسِنَاتِ مِنكُنَّ أَجْرًا عَظِيْمًا

O Prophet, say to your wives, “If you should desire the worldly life and its adornment, then come, I will provide for you and give you a gracious release. But if you should desire Allah and His Messenger and the home of the Hereafter—then indeed, Allah has prepared for the doers of good among you a great reward.”[13]

 

They chose Allah and his Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and abandoned the life of this world and its adornments. There is no other reason for them choosing Allah and His Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam—which meant patiently enduring the hardship and difficulty which accompanied the office of Nubuwwah—except firmness of faith and their fear of Allah. Since their decision to remain with the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was motivated by Taqwa they were honoured by Allah:

 

لَّا يَحِلُّ لَكَ النِّسَاءُ مِنْ بَعْدُ وَلَا أَنْ تَبَدَّلَ بِهِنَّ مِنْ أَزْوَاجٍ وَلَوْ أَعْجَبَكَ حُسْنُهُنَّ

Not lawful to you, [O Muhammad], are [any additional] women after [this], nor [is it] for you to exchange them for [other] wives, even if their beauty were to please you.[14]

 

They were honoured in two ways in this verse:

  1.  The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was prohibited from taking another wife after them.
  2. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was prohibited from divorcing any one of them, in order to marry another.

The reason for this was so that they would be his wives for eternity; not only in this world but in the hereafter as well. This is also the reason why the Believers were prohibited from marrying them after his demise:

 

وَمَا كَانَ لَكُمْ أَنْ تُؤْذُوْا رَسُوْلَ اللَّهِ وَلَا أَنْ تَنْكِحُوْا أَزْوَاجَهُ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ أَبَدًا ۚ إِنَّ ذٰلِكُمْ كَانَ عِندَ اللَّهِ عَظِيْمًا

And it is not [conceivable or lawful] for you to harm the Messenger of Allah or to marry his wives after him, ever. Indeed, that would be in the sight of Allah an enormity.[15]

 

And they were awarded the position of mothers to every believer:

 

النَّبِيُّ أَوْلٰى بِالْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ مِنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ وَ اَزْوَاجُهُ اُمَّهَاتُهُمْ

The Prophet is more worthy of the believers than themselves, and his wives are [in the position of] their mothers.[16]

 

Every person should ponder deeply over these points and recognise the noble status awarded to the Ummahat al Mu’minin.

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